Welcome back to the home of Weird, Wild, & Wicked Tales. Today is Thursday and that means it’s time to start flashing. We’re at the beginning of our ninth year of weekly prompts. It’s amazing we’ve gone this long! This is Week 422 of #ThursThreads, the challenge that ties tales together. Want to keep up each week? Check out the #ThursThreads #flashfiction group on Facebook and the Group on MeWe.
Need the rules? Read on.
Here’s how it works:
- The prompt is a line from the previous week’s winning tale.
- The prompt can appear ANYWHERE in your story and is included in your word count.
- The prompt must be used as is. It can be split, but no intervening words can be inserted or tenses changed.
Rules to the Game:
- This is a Flash Fiction challenge, which means your story must be a minimum of 100 words, maximum of 250.
- The story must be new writing, not a snippet from something published elsewhere with the prompt added.
- Incorporate the prompt anywhere into your story (included in your word count).
- Post your story in the comments section of this post
- Include your word count in the post (or be excluded from judging)
- Include your Twitter handle or email in the post (so we don’t have to look for you)
- The challenge is open 7 AM to 8 PM Mountain Time
- The winner will be announced on Friday, depending on how early the judge gets up.
How it benefits you:
- You get a nifty cool badge to display on your blog or site (because we’re all about promotion – you know you are!)
- You get instant recognition of your writing prowess on this blog!
- Your writing colleagues shall announce and proclaim your greatness on Facebook, Twitter, MeWe, and Google Plus, etc.
Our Judge for Week 422:
Grandmother, corgi mama, and YouTube sensation, Angela Roe.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“They’re not coming back.”
All stories written herein are the property (both intellectual and physical) of the authors. Comments do not represent the views of the host and the host reserves the right to remove any content. Now, away with you, Flash Fiction Fanatics, and show us your #ThursThreads. Good luck!
12 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 422”
It was a sweet gig. Coulda gone sideways, I suppose. Didn’t. Coulda though. And Macklin was a strange bird. Not my usual semi-well-healed client. In fact, I stumbled over him this morning coming into my building.
“Buddy,” I said, “That’s what sleeping in doorways will get ya. A lug crushin’ your bones.”
He apologized. That took style, so I grabbed two coffees from the local Makebucks and took him back to the office.
He warmed to me quick. Told me his sorry tale. Been a bindlestiff since his teens. Finally decided to return home. His old man was years dead, but his mother had the same little house except now three or four goobers had moved in. They wouldn’t even let him in the door.
“Sounds hinky,” I said. “Did you call the cops?”
I knew the answer before he even shook his head. That just wasn’t his way. He was such a sad critter, I decided to go for it pro bono. I offered him my couch, got his mom’s address, and drove out there.
Parked down the street, I could see lots of comings and goings. It didn’t take a brain surgeon to see what Mrs. Macklin’s house guests were up to. I made a quick call to Vinny Franco and he brought his crew over.
They made short work of the dealers.
Back at the office I gave Macklin the good news.
“They’re not coming back. Go home to your mother.”
Damn, that felt good.
After donning the robes and gathering our things, we sneak out of the building. According to Valmong, Jaya left for the night about an hour ago, so we should be in the clear. Unfortunately for us, she must have suspected something.
At the end of the alley, a pair of brutish-looking men seem to be standing guard. They both carry heavy broadswords that get bigger with every step we take. They haven’t noticed us yet, but even with the element of surprise, I don’t like our odds. Valmong still isn’t fully healed from the night before and I’m not exactly eager to try out my new dagger.
“Stay here.” Valmong pulls us into the shadows.
Before I can protest the protective gesture, Nevari breaks away and tosses what looks like a pair of round canisters at the two men. The light clanking alerts them, but not soon enough. A light smoke rises from the cannisters, engulfing them. A moment later, the men shout and point somewhere down the street, away from us. They break into a run.
“They’re not coming back anytime soon.” Nevari scoops the cannisters back up.
“What did you do to them?”
“Just a hallucination.” She shrugs. “Simple, but effective.”
I’m starting to understand why Claritas saw value in rescuing her. If she can enchant items into making people see things, what else can she do?
229 #TeamRPG words
The hawk on his hand was anxious, a bound knot of fury whose eyes missed nothing. It’d waited patiently on its perch for an hour now, the hood on its head imposing a trance on it; its singular focus dulled for a few minutes.
“Billy Boy.” The man raised his arm, trying to catch its attention.
The bird stared ahead, its attention on the heath. It’d heard a stuttering of wings on the breeze; a flock of pigeons plump-bodied and vulnerable. It arched forward toward them, straining against its ties, the purest embodiment of tension.
“Nice bird,” the other man said. “He looks hungry. Keen to fly.”
The second man was a mongrel, his face scarred and his jacket hanging awkwardly against his body. His boots were matched, but that was best of him; wearing gabardine in half a dozen shades, he seemed unruly just standing there. Andrew hesitated briefly before acknowledging him but then answered, unsure of himself.
“He’s a young bird. It’s his first proper outing. He’s flown to the bait for weeks, but never anywhere where he can really stretch his wings. It’s a big day for both of us, I guess.”
The other man nodded, keeping his eyes on the bird. He moved slowly, floating his hands like ghosts, his fingers nimble but wiry.
“You have to be careful,” he said, ruffling the feathers on its breast. “Birds like these are tricky; release them when they’re too young and they’re underweight – they’re not coming back.”
250 words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
“What’s going on tonight?”
“It’s the last city council meeting before the holidays and Tyler says this asshole named Earl Creighton is trying to push through some new bullshit ordinances before the new year.”
I frowned, something sparking in my memory. “How can he do that? I mean, who is this Creighton person?”
“He’s another council member, but he has some really weird hangups. The ordinances have something to do with ‘non-Christian’ and occult businesses in town bringing in the ‘wrong element’ or some such tripe.”
I sat up straighter. “Occult businesses? You mean like mine?”
“Yup, exactly like yours. This guy is legit afraid of witches and healers that aren’t wearing some sort of Catholic robes or something.”
“Did you say his name was Creighton?”
“Yeah.” Joslyn stood and looked for her coat, but paused to glance at me. “Earl Creighton, why?”
I scowled. “One of the punks last night mentioned that name. Like Creighton didn’t pay him enough to get beaten up before he took off. I think Councilman Creighton paid a bunch of goons to kill me.”
“Shit. Are you serious? Are you sure it’s Councilman Creighton?”
I shook my head. “No, and I can’t ask the goons. They’re not coming back after what Flint did to them.”
She swallowed hard. “Did he kill them?”
I shrugged. “I dunno. They weren’t moving when he threw them back into their SUV. I didn’t stick around to see if they were breathing.”
243 ineligible #ConcreteAnglesMC words
She placed her index finger against pursed lips. “Shhhhh.”
“They’re not coming back.”
“How do you know?” Her voice was a mere whisper. He wouldn’t have heard what she said if he’d been full human. He wasn’t. He was a Wolf. Not that he’d shifted yet but he would.
“I just know.”
“You think you’re so smart.”
Micah puffed out his chest. “That’s because I am.”
In the distance, a floor board creaked. Before he could stand and go check it out, Grace grabbed his wrists and jerked him under the bed with her.
“They’re baaack,” she intoned, her voice spooky.
Footsteps echoed, coming closer. Boots appeared, framed by the bed skirt.
Eyes wide, Grace made the shushing gesture again. Micah held his breath as more footsteps approached.
“They’ve got to be here somewhere.” The gruff voice rumbled with a slight growl. “Stupid kids.”
The men muttered bad words but eventually left. Micah let out his breath and suddenly realized that he’d been gripping Gracie’s hand. Hard. Or she was squeezing his. He wasn’t sure.
“How long do we have to hide?” Her breath tickled his ear and fought the urge to scratch.
“Thought you were so smart.”
They both screamed as hands curled around their ankles and jerked them from under the bed. Then they burst into giggles. The two men exchanged a look before rolling their eyes.
“Ally, ally oxen free!” Gracie shouted.
Micah squirmed out of his dad’s grip and ran, yelling, “Hide-n-seek!”
250 random Moonstruck Wolf words
The pitch doors of Baavan Sidhe’s vaulted chamber flew from their cold iron hinges under the broken bodies of her honor guard. The unseelie enchantress turned reproachfully toward her handsome intruder. His long silken locks were kept from his face by a circlet of braided gold as the blues and violets of a lightning storm flashed in his eyes. His night-black cloak, spread over broad shoulders and embroidered with knots of silver, covered most of his body and all but the tip of his massive sword.
“Unholy witch,” he raised his chiseled chin. “your blight upon this land ends now.”
Baavan sighed sourly, drumming her taloned fingers over the scroll on her side table. She finally made time for some light reading and this happened. Weaving her spells in isolation was exhausting and the work was never done, but secrecy demanded it.
“You’ve miscalculated, young Connla. The time of heroes is long past.”
“Shall we test that theory?” The young warrior stepped forward into the middle of Baavan’s broken guards.
“Stupid boy! You have surrounded yourself!”
The enchantress’ eyes burned red and she called her minions to rise.
And she called her minions to rise.
“They’re not coming back.” Connla shrugged back his cloak, revealing his blade blazing with blue moonlight.
“Your father’s sword?!” Baavan recoiled with a hiss. “When did…?”
“You should have gotten out more,” Connla raised the blade to shoulder level, point aligned with Baavan’s heart. “I’ve been the Pale Knight for the last fifty years.”
249 Cat’s The Pajamas words
Sorry for some reason my first copy posted this is the one I wanted to post
“They’re not coming back; are they?” I asked Ts’e
“What do you want me to say… er no?”
“I can’t believe they really exist.”
“Why do you think we’ve been living off the grid in the woods all this time? I really did believe they’d never find us but they’re persistent creatures. They want us dead.”
“I think we should take them by surprise grab a child and kill the rest. They seem to love the daylight so if we stalk their camp at night, we can grab them,” I stated.
As they lay sleeping in the middle of the night Ts’e and I crept into their camp. Ts’e ripped the dens from their bearings. The creatures startled awake one tried to grab their loud banging instruments of death but I stopped them. When we were done some adults were dead and we grabbed some little ones who cried in fear. I’d always wanted a child and now I would have one. The child would not look like either if us but we could live with that.
The child was scared at first and called us the dreaded name Bigfoot. We explained that we preferred the term Ts’emekwes and that they were now our child. The child a girl we renamed Bella Coola after the place where we were born. We live deep in the woods where the humans will never find us and our child is happy. Bella loves the woods and learned our ways quickly we are blessed.
Bella and Hadid stood quietly by the door of their cage. Both were black as night, with glow in the dark green eyes. They’d spent half an hour in one of the rooms, with a family of four. That was hours ago.
Bella quietly meowed at me, as if to ask, “Where did the people go?”
“Ah, Bella.” I opened the cage and scratched her ears. Hadid took advantage of the door being open, and suckered me into scratching his ears. “Brother and sister. Bonded. You make a great pair of kitties.”
I kept scratching their ears a bit more. They were in for another long night, when their hopes of going home with a new family soared, and they did everything they could to show how good they were, and how they would be sterling additions to the family.
Only to end up spending another night in their cage at Animal Control.
“You know, don’t you?” I scratched Bella’s cheek, whiskers and all, “They’re not coming back.”
They knew. Hadid quietly slipped to the back of the cage, walked around in circles, and settled on the blanket. I could see he was heartbroken again. Bella reached for my hand, to pull it back every time I tried to leave.
It was so hard to see them go through heartbreak each day. “I’ll keep praying the perfect family for you shows up, OK?”
Bella nodded, then slowly wandered to the back of the cage, and curled up with Hadid.
After Three Days
As they argued, Rudi wondered why he and Missy had gotten married, let alone moved to the barrier islands. All they ever did was fight. In fact, the only thing they had going for them was a raging case of hormones.
The question was, was that enough to see them through the storms life threw at them? They had been snapping at each other all morning when the first car arrived.
Even in the best of times, neither one of them was comfortable with their own family and now they were playing host to both. Rudi hated how they treated Missy and loved how she stood up to them for his sake.
“Happy Anniversary!” His cousins greeted them and Rudi realized their mistake. Getting married on a holiday weekend and moving out to a resort island meant family had a built-in excuse to come calling every holiday.
They tried putting them up elsewhere, but the hotels and bed and breakfasts were all booked solid for the month. That meant it was up to them to play host.
After three hours they began actively working together against their family’s impromptu vacation.
In the end, it took a flooded bathroom, a broken freezer, a snake infestation, and a monsoon to make them leave.
“Y’all come back,” Missy called as the last car pulled away.
“Yeah, they’re not coming back,” Rudi said under his breath.
“One can only hope.”
Rudi realized, they worked because they kept each other’s demons at bay.
249 words, not including title
“They’re not coming back!” the Director said. “They left the space agency. It’s over. Why are we even having this conversation about them? I can’t believe I will spend my Saturday making a case for us to try luring back two malcontents that have no desire to be part of our mission. What conceivable use do we have for them?”
“They are experienced and flight qualified,” answered the Assistant Director. “They’ve both been to the Moon and done all the things we asked of them.”
“The decision is out of our hands. They left.”
“We need to get them back.”
“I don’t see how,” said the Director.
“Yeah, I know it’s impossible.”
“How does that impact us?”
“To get the crews ready after Mission 7, we must slow down our pace.”
“How slow?” The Director asked.
“We must extend our schedule for Mission 7, by a year.”
“That’s not possible. We must keep flying.”
“I have a solution.”
“What?” asked the Director.
“Change Mission 7 to the Tycho crater with Jellison and Conner.”
“What about the next mission at the Lunar south pole?”
“We have the MacInturner’s fly it,” said the Assistant Director.
“You’re suggesting that we put a husband and wife team as crew for a Lunar mission?”
“Yeah. They’re the only ones with the experience needed to handle that tough mission.”
“The Assistant Secretary will kill us,” the Director said.
“Then we need Johnson and Carmike back.”
“They’re not coming back.”
#ThursThreads Week 422 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.